A Cargill meat processing plant is shown in Chambly, Que., south of Montreal, Sunday, May 10, 2020. The plant is closing temporarily after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Another Cargill meat-processing plant closes after COVID-19 outbreak

171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure

A Cargill meat-processing plant south of Montreal announced it is closing its doors after at least 64 workers tested positive for COVID-19, even as schools across much of Quebec prepared to open theirs to students on Monday.

The outbreak in Chambly, Que. marks the second time the company has experienced a COVID-19 closure at one of its facilities in Canada.

A spokeswoman for the union representing the workers said the Cargill plant will close temporarily as of Wednesday so all its workers can be tested.

Roxane Larouche said 171 workers were sent home last week as a preventative measure, and 30 of them have tested negative. The testing is expected to last until Friday, and the plant will reopen once there are enough uninfected employees to run it safely.

Cargill said the 64 workers represent 13 per cent of the workforce at the plant. The company said three employees have recovered.

“Because the health and safety of Cargill employees remains our priority, we’ve decided to close our protein production factory in Chambly,” the company said, adding that it would continue to pay workers during the stoppage.

“Cargill is working in close collaboration with local health authorities and the union to test our employees as quickly as possible.”

READ MORE: ‘Numb and very lost’: Alberta meat plant reopens as memorial held for Cargill worker

The workplace had implemented safety measures for employees, including installing plexiglass between workers where possible, staggering arrival and departure times and providing masks, visors and safety glasses, Larouche confirmed.

A Cargill beef-packing plant in High River, Alta., reopened last Monday after a two-week shutdown.

More than 900 of 2,000 workers at that plant have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, some of Quebec’s children are preparing to return to class on Monday as the province moves ahead with a plan to reopen elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area.

Students will be subject to physical distancing, frequent handwashing and carefully co-ordinated school days spent in large part at their desks while school officials keep up with cleaning, disinfection and following public health guidelines.

Attendance isn’t mandatory, and two school boards told The Canadian Press that most of their students were staying home for now.

The province allowed most retail stores outside Montreal to open May 11, but pushed back the opening date for schools and other businesses in the hard-hit metropolis to May 25 as case numbers remained high.

As of Sunday morning, there were 67,996 COVID-19 cases, including 4,728 deaths, according to Canada’s top public health doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam. Some 47 per cent of cases have recovered, she said in a statement.

READ MORE: Feds to buy up surplus from Canadian agrifood producers as part of $252M investment

Over half of the country’s cases are in Quebec, which registered 142 new deaths on Sunday for a total of 2,928, as well as a caseload of over 37,700.

Other provinces are also taking small steps to reopen, albeit at a slower pace than the hardest-hit province.

Ontario allowed hardware stores and safety supply stores to reopen this weekend, while non-essential retail stores will be allowed to offer curbside pickup this week.

The province reported 35 more deaths related to the novel coronavirus and 294 more cases, which represents the lowest rate of growth since March, even as the province was dealing with another COVID-19 outbreak at Toronto Western Hospital.

The University Health Network said the new outbreak is on the hospital’s 9A Fell unit, which had previously been declared one of its “COVID negative units.”

The organization didn’t reveal how many cases are part of the new outbreak, but said that across its network, 83 staff members have tested positive for the virus from January to May 4.

Alberta is also planning to allow some retail stores to open this week, while New Brunswick’s stores, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and campgrounds started reopening Friday — but only if they could show they had a plan to meet guidelines for physical distancing, hand hygiene and allowing staff to remain home when ill.

In Prince Edward Island, there was some good news as the province’s chief health officer announced Friday that some physical distancing restrictions would be lifted, including an allowance for Mother’s Day hugs.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirusfood security

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Freeport — the camp site that was the region’s largest community

A story of the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Burns Lake to get a pedestrian-activated light

The blind turn at the RBC crossing to get safer

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read